February 2nd, 2010
07:14 PM ET
4 years ago

Reid to Obama: 'Lay off Las Vegas'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the White House on Tuesday to 'lay off Las Vegas' after President Obama slighted the city during a riff about government spending.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the White House on Tuesday to 'lay off Las Vegas' after President Obama slighted the city during a riff about government spending.

Washington (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the White House on Tuesday to "lay off Las Vegas" after President Obama slighted the city during a riff about government spending.

"You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage," Obama said at a New Hampshire town hall Tuesday. "You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices. And it's time your government did the same."

That remark sparked a flurry of condemnations from Nevada Republicans, including Danny Tarkanian and Sue Lowden, two Republicans hoping to unseat Reid this November.

"It is indefensible for Harry Reid to once again sit on his hands when President Obama continues to bash Las Vegas and Nevada's economic engine," Lowden said in a statement e-mailed out to reporters Tuesday afternoon.

But Reid, it turns out, was already on the case.

"I just spoke to the White House and told them that while the President is correct that people saving for college need to be fiscally responsible, the President needs to lay off Las Vegas and stop making it the poster child for where people shouldn't be spending their money," Reid said in a statement. "To truly reenergize our economy, we need people to travel to Las Vegas. I would much rather tourists and business travelers spend their money in Las Vegas than spend it overseas."

Nevada's junior senator - Republican Sen. John Ensign - demanded an apology from the president.

"Las Vegas is suffering through one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and we cannot afford for the President to bring us down any further," Ensign tweeted.

– CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report


Filed under: 2010 • Danny Tarkanian • Harry Reid • Nevada • Sue Lowden
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. James Mebane

    come 0n, John Ensign, just ask mom and dad to throw in a few dollars to help the state. I am sure they can buy the state out of trouble. While you are at it, RESIGN.

    February 2, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  2. ken sanders

    Ah the whole works of them are pork barrellers. How can they continually spend .. year after year .. more than they take in .. and then BORROW to make the books balance ? That will not work much longer and then .. WATCH OUT !!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 2, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    People will spend their money where they chose and spending it in Las Vegas is a choice, so Reid needs to get over it.

    February 2, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. Mr.EZ

    As a resident of Las Vegas I would like to thank Senator Reid for making a stand on this. The republican shill Jim Gibbons has been a blight on the state of Nevada. His constant cutting of education funding has led to Las Vegas residents not being able to compete in the job market and his partys cutting of taxes of the wealthy has resulted in sharp job losses for the lower and middle classes while the wealthy have tightened their belts during the recession Anything for them to keep their precious money. Keep fighting Mr. Reid. WE ARE WITH YOU.

    February 2, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Watchdog

    CNN....quit trying to ressurrect Harry's chances to win re-election!
    HE"S DONE.....GONE.......GET OVER IT!!

    February 2, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. phillydan

    Stupid! Obama is right, people should not be going to Vegas if they don't have a pot to pee in, people who disagree with this, whether Repubs or Dems shouldn't complain about deficit spending.

    My niece who has 5 children and is collecting welfare was upset because she was suppose to get 8800.00 back for her tax return – her significant other works. Anyway the State where she lives took 8100.00 of the return. Her lament was that because they did that, they couldn't got to the Casinos in Atlantic City. I love my niece but I didn't feel any sympathy for her. This is what Obama is trying to point out. Just one story but their are many like this.

    February 2, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. annie against biased news

    dirty harry need not worry about Las Vegas – once obama gets thru with our economy and his death wish for America budget – no one can go to Las Vegas even if they live there.

    February 2, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. robert

    im not an obama fan and the statement he made about vegas is being overplayed and right now harry reid will say anything to save his political hide....

    the mask has fallen off. an unsuspecting american public has woken up and discovered that the demos are all maxrist communists in disquise and its going to cost them politically in the days ahead bigtime....

    February 2, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. Justin

    I think what Obama said was reasonable you don't go blowing money in vegas if your saving for college. That would be just plain stupid. People need to take their heads out of their (well you know where).

    February 2, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. Navy Vet

    The republicans, who are always talking about personal responsibility are upset that the president believes people should prioritize?

    Are you kidding, he's right paying for your education or your house over a boat is more important than knocking back a few, gambling and going to nudie bars in LV.

    February 2, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. Bill

    This is so typical of this administration. Say one thing and do another. How can Obama keep saying that the government should save, but instead he's spending like there's no tomorrow. Apply a freeze after a spending increase; raise the debt ceiling when you max out; raise taxes to fund their extra spending. He must think that people are really stupid. As for Republicans in Nevada.... don't buy into this feud between Obama and Reid. They are trying to make you side with one of them. If you blame Obama then Reid is the good guy and vice versa. When in fact, both of them are just as bad they're driving this country into the ground. If the Republicans don't self destruct, they should pick up Obama's old Senate seat as well as Reid's current seat.

    February 2, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  12. Scottish Mama

    Truth hurts nevada. If you can't pay your bills you shouldn't be throwing it away in Vegas.

    February 2, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  13. robrubin

    Geez. So apparently now it is not politically correct to refer to Las Vegas as a place to gamble?

    I wish they didn't scrap the mission to the moon. Sometimes I feel like it would be a much better place to live.

    February 2, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  14. m smith

    President could have said Alantic city or any number of Indian Casinos. We got his point. The wing nuts are out in force. After the smack down the president gave the repos at their own gathering you would think they would shut up for awhile. Harry you need the president so you might want to be careful what you say also.

    February 2, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  15. spencercourt

    > Republican Sen. John Ensign – demanded an apology from the
    > president.

    Who the heck is this hypocrite to demand anything from anyone? Here's yet another "family values" Republican who opposes gay marriare because he believes in marriage. And how does he believe in it? By having an 8-month affair with an aide.

    Ensign needs to resign!

    February 2, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  16. DallasMarine

    Reid, you and every other politician are such worms it's not funny anymore. Whoever is running against current seat holders in the Senate, house, or governorship I will vote for them instead. We need new blood.

    February 2, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. Greg K., PA

    Wow – get over it.

    February 2, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  18. Anthony

    Vegas has been robbing America blind for decades. Theyre just like Wall St, but with the gambling and strippers in plain sight. Obama is absolutely right. You DONT blow your money at Vegas if your trying to save... thats just plain COMMON SENSE. These Nevada guys need to shut up and practice some fiscal responsibility, cuz if it were up to them, theyd roll the dice with the bail out money as well.... At least Obama is trying to get people to start acting responsibly.

    Whine Whine Whine

    February 2, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  19. Todd

    Dude way to late for tough talk now, you sleep with dogs you get fleas!

    February 2, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  20. Razorback

    I guess next we'll hear from the boat manufacturers calling for an apology. Sorry, guys, Vegas is a discretionary expense-and President Obama is right on this one. At least it provoked bipartisan "outrage".

    February 2, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  21. Stop the Nonsense

    You're suffering from high unemployent becuase too many people are lured there by the constant building of more and more hotels and casinos and thinking they will have jobs. Career employees are laid off and cheaper, new ones hired hurting the community.
    Your economy, Nevada, rests on the backs of the Americans paychecks. For every dollar spent there, it is not spent on goods and services in other parts of the country that actually gorw our economy.Once a dollas is spent and put into your casinos coffer, then what? A new o building gives a job to a construction worker. Then someone rents an office or store to sell goods which gives others jobs. You produce nothing but less money in a person's bank account.
    I always enjoy my time in Las Vegas, but be realistic- you are hardly helping our economy by any means.

    February 2, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. Lost Wages

    Sorry Harry , Las Vegas is a sleazy place that preys on the weak, however you care to spin it.

    February 2, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. John

    Even though it's common sense for any person to save their money and not spend it in Las Vegas, it makes no sense to Republicans. Why must logic be so illogical for them? Republicans make me sick.

    February 2, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. Ridgeway

    This is great. The Dems are like multiplying rats. When they out grow the space their in they start eating each other. Nice. Go to Vegas if you've got the money. I used to like it but it's tough to win any money now.

    February 2, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. gary davis harbor oregon

    Harry concentrate on the health care bill . and leave the policy of the country to the president thank you :)

    February 2, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
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